Antigua has halted testing people for HIV and this decision is being blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.
HIV AIDS Programme Manager Delcora Williams says in order to adhere to social distancing requirements, no HIV tests are being conducted by the HIV clinic until further notice.
“An HIV test is a very intimate thing,” Williams said.
“The counsellor sits on one end of the table and the individual sits on the other. There’s not even a distance of two to three feet separating the person accessing services, so therefore that service cannot be offered at this moment.”
Williams said people can still access condoms and the clinic continues to provide patients with care and treatment.
In recent weeks health authorities in several countries have been expressing concern that the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to increased STD rates and setbacks in the fight against HIV as public health resources are shifted to the coronavirus response.
Access to STD and HIV testing and treatment services have been dwindling as local health departments shuffle staff to respond to COVID-19 and clinics reduce hours or close altogether and cancel outreach programs.
“We are seeing a complete disruption to STD prevention here in the United States,” said David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).
“We expect to experience even higher STD rates as a result.”
Harvey said specialists who work at local health departments tracking STDs and other infectious diseases are being reassigned to the COVID-19 response.
These specialists would typically contact people who have tested positive for STDs and HIV, make sure they’re getting treatment and interview them confidentially about who they have had sexual contact with to ensure those individuals also get testing and treatment.
Other staff, including doctors and nurses, have also been redeployed to the COVID-19 response. Clinics are reducing hours and limiting appointments, no longer accepting walk-in patients, reducing services or suspending outreach activities.
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This seems like a very dumb idea.
What’s the logics in this decision….. How much more risky is it, for the person testing someone with HIV compared with those persons who work on the frontline at the hospital such as the nurses, doctors etc? Are PPE’s, masks and gloves not a part of staff’s attire during times like this? Should the mood develops between two persons and one of them is allergic to condoms then what?
Yh this is not good Ive been wanting to get tested wonder if the labs like medpath etc will be open to doing so. On the other hand what about planned Parenthood are they doing the same thing when it comes to giving birth control etc?
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